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BRIEFCASE

AUTO INDUSTRY : Kia Review, Hyundai Official's Quote Make Car and Driver

March 23, 1994|John O'Dell, Times staff writer

Korean car makers Hyundai and Kia--both with U.S. headquarters in Orange County--made the pages of April's Car and Driver magazine.

The Sephia sedan, debuting in the United States this year as the inaugural product of Kia Motors of America Inc. in Irvine, got a full-page review in the respected monthly magazine for car buffs.

The verdict? The reviewer said a brief drive in the top-of-the line GS model, which retails for less than $12,000 with power windows and door locks, tilt steering, intermittent wipers and an AM / FM stereo cassette audio system, "gives us the impression that the Sephia will be a respectable transportation module."

But Car and Driver is noted for as much for acidity as acuity, and the Sephia review was no exception. Citing potential competitors, like Dodge's Neon, that come with dual air bags, optional ABS braking, sexier lines and a bigger engine, the magazine wrote that "notoriety for Kia will likely take a bit longer than it did for Heidi Fleiss."

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